This Art Project Wants to Evolve Arab Cities Without Losing Their Culture

Published August 14th, 2017 - 09:43 GMT
Amman depicted in a drawing. (Babayuka /
Amman depicted in a drawing. (Babayuka /

The “Identity and the City” project, starting from Friday, is a “Ma3mal 612” initiative which seeks to affect “positive societal change by evolving Jordanian cities’ authentic identity, while maintaining their original spirit,” a Ma3mal 612 statement said.

“Ma3mal 612” (“workshop” in Arabic), defines itself as a “collaborative pool of thinkers and workers from different backgrounds and disciplines who design innovative projects on themes that are considered as a priority for the Arab region”.

“Identity and the City” consists of three projects, implemented in the governorates of Madaba, Zarqa and Irbid. Marked by the city’s youth and residents, it entails “innovative artistic projects” inspired by the needs of each city based on its social and cultural nature, according to the statement. 

The project is in line with the objectives of Ma3mal 612 to have pioneering people create artistic projects, in a way that shows they are capable of positively influencing civil society in the Arab region and the world.

The members of the teams were selected on specific bases of their skills and vision of their city, in addition to their aspiration to develop a community that initiates a journey of personal identity discovery in relation to their city.

This will be done through 40 non-systematic training sessions managed by Ma3mal 612, the statement said. 

Diversity, critical thinking, problem solving and analysis, expression by art, creation and management of initiatives from the ground up are Ma3mal 612’s main focus in their series of independent events and projects. 

These values are also spread digitally through the hashtags #you_are_your_city and #mydentity, the statement added.

The youth selected were Zaid Hajji, Hanaa Mokdadi and Mostafa Al Sukran as trainers and ambassadors for the “Identity and the City” project to form technical youth teams in each of the three cities of Madaba, Zarqa and Irbid. 

Each team will develop the work and the dream that they want to represent in their cities, according to the statement.

The “Identity and the City” project will be launched on August 18 in Madaba at Dar Al Saraya from 4pm to 10pm. 

The “Fandaba” project is a cultural and social move to develop and beautify the city of Madaba. The name of the project comes from the word “art” in Arabic, combined with the city’s name “Madaba” to form the term “Fandaba”. 

It seeks to encourage the people of Madaba to participate and integrate the local community of all ages and shades in the various initiatives, through several activities to collect and document the city’s stories between the present and the past and intergenerational dialogue.

The initiative includes several activities aimed at integrating the local community in the promotion of the Madaba identity, including an open bazaar for local products, a musical performance, a mosaic exhibition of old and modern images and several cultural seminars.

In Irbid, Al Daraj and Al Menawi Festival will hold its first edition, which will take place on August 25 and 26 at 6:00pm as an artistic cultural event that calls on residents of Irbid to use the public space of the city and interact with the city in a larger way, next to the municipality buildings known as the “municipal stairs”.

The activities of the “stairs” include images of visual works, which will be hung on the walls of the buildings around the stairs, and a sound and photo exhibition titled “The Architecture of the Camp” that will reflect the heart of the camp in the centre of the city.

The stairs represent the place where the youth of the city meet for dialogue, discussion, exchange of views and even acquaintance with each other.

The Zarqa-Amman Bus project, which will be implemented on August 26, is an independent youth art platform that seeks to strengthen the links between the cities of Amman and Zarqa.

It also aims to highlight the importance of Zarqa City in providing Amman with creators, artists and workers in different sectors through the Web TV, a number of video programmes, photography, short stories or interviews with the city’s residents, as well as a platform to host the talents of young men and women from the cities of Amman and Zarqa.

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